With cold and flu season in full swing it is particularly important to maintain an exercise routine to help combat those viruses and bacteria from taking hold of us. We know that yoga is excellent for helping us look good and helps to lengthen muscles for good muscle tone and a contoured body.
Yoga exercises are also very effective in boosting the body’s immune system and keeping the entire body healthy. Combine with rest and eating properly with fruits and vegetables, yoga can help strengthen your immune system and provide relaxation and recovery for the body to be ready to fight those toxins, viruses and bacteria that are lurking around us. Yoga keeps us healthy inside and out.
The best solution to fight viruses, bacteria, and disease is to keep the body’s systems and processes working together. This includes the respiratory system, circulatory system, lymphatic system, nervous system, and digestive system.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Keeping these in harmony will improve your immunity to prevent and keep you from viruses and bacteria. Should you unfortunately contract the cold or flu yoga can help shorten the duration of your illness.
Respiratory System – the breathing techniques used in yoga help to clear the lungs, and nasal passages and allows for more oxygen flow through the entire body. Breathing from the abdomen is so important in moving oxygen throughout the body while removing toxins.
Breathing just from our chest can restrict full respirations and expansion of the lungs which in turn can keep bacteria trapped in the lungs leading to congestion, colds and in worse cases pneumonia. Proper breathing also decreases stress and encourages relaxation. Inverted poses in yoga help drain the respiratory system, transfer oxygen and clear out the toxins from the lungs, throat, nasal passages, head and even the ears which can become plugged from toxins and mucus build up.
Circulatory System – the heart and lungs work together to maintain a consistent heart rate and breathing pattern. The circulatory system carries oxygen to the organs and muscles to perform their functions. Viruses, bacteria and diseases occur mostly where there is less oxygen. Maintaining good oxygen supply throughout the body helps deter disease.
Oxygenated tissue is healthy tissue. Inverted yoga poses also help the heart pump more easily allowing the heart to function with less stress and more efficiently.
Lymphatic System – the lymphatic system works to remove inflammation, swelling and toxins from the body. This system acts much like a pump to push these impurities away from the organs and joints. This reduces pressure on the organs and joints and allows for healing which can be impeded by excess inflammation and fluid.
Nervous System – we are familiar with yoga reducing stress from the relaxation of stretching muscles and breathing both of which work to calm the nervous system. Yoga, as with other forms of exercise, allows the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters from the brain, particularly from the pituitary gland, that sends messages to the nervous system, primarily to reduce pain and stress.
Endorphins can produce a sense of euphoria, much like an “exercise –high” which improves mood, can control appetite, and releases the sex hormone all of which helps to boost the immune system.
Digestive System – moving from one pose to another in yoga or moving between positions with a particular exercise in yoga helps improve the efficiency of the digestive system. Often times we do not think of the digestive system when we are sick unless we have a stomach ache or intestinal issues.
However, the toxins in the digestive tract can inhibit the body’s healing and can turn into a stomach or intestinal issue. Typically, when we do not feel well we will sit on the couch or curl up in bed. The digestive tract curls up with you keeping toxins and waste restricted from moving accumulating and compiling. Simply laying with legs straight can open the digestive tract or doing something as simple as pelvis tilts can help keep the digestive tract open and less restricted.
The following are yoga poses are particularly excellent for maintaining and improve the systems of the body as discussed above. By “opening” and moving the chest, abdomen, internal organs and joints yoga activates all the systems of the body allowing them to work together to strengthen the immune system and defend against illness and disease.
– Fish Pose
– Cat & Camel/Cat & Dog
– Downward Dog
– Child’s Pose
– Legs on the Wall